Berlin '45 | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Jeffrey Sweet's new play, about German civilians and Russian soldiers coping with life in the months just before and after the fall of the Nazis, begins promisingly enough. But too often Sweet has his creations step out of character to narrate their stories, insert a historical footnote, or deliver a paragraph or two of expository material, as if they were docents giving a tour through his historical diorama. There are some amazing moments in the play, however, most notably the engineer's speech in the second act (superbly delivered by Roderick Peeples), when he tells a horrifying story about a talented colleague whose gifts and desire to serve his country led to his demise. This short monologue says more about the craziness of war and about Stalinist Russia than all the rest of Sweet's two-hour show. Through 5/1: Tue-Fri 8 PM, Sat 5 and 8:30 PM, Sun 3 PM. Wed 4/13, 2 PM only. No show Tue 4/12. Victory Gardens Theater, first-floor main stage, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-871-3000 (TTY 773-871-0682). $28-$40.

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